Darkness Falls Chapter 10
Kaede immediately sprang into action.
Cloud, he said, give me the Knights Bahumet.
Cloud handed the red orbs to Kaede.
He summoned Bahumet first, What is it Sire? asked the King of Dragons.
Bahumet, said Kaede, the Drahk have begun their attack.
What? raged Bahumet, they dare-
Not an entire strike force, said Kaede, but I feel a strong, presence.
What do you think it is, my lord?
I dont know.
Excuse me..., said Aeris, but...
What is it Aeris? asked Red.
I feel a disturbance in the Planet, in Lifestram as well, answered the Cetra.
I feel it too, said Cloud, but he failed to mentioned that he had felt this feeling once before...
Wonderful, cursed Kaede, he summoned the Knights.
What is it sire? asked King Arthur.
I am going to check out a possible threat from the Drahk, said Kaede, I want you and the brothers Bahumet to protect the others.
As you wish sire answered King Arthur, bowing before disappearing once more into the materia.
Kaede turned to the others, If you follow, dont take any craft, use the brothers Bahumet, there is no telling what may happen out there.
How are you getting there? asked Reeve, will you teleport or take the Kitana?
Neither, they may sense me, Im going to fly there myself. I need all the surprise I can get.
With that, Kaede sheathed his sword, drew a materia stone out of his belt, and gathered his powers. Before the others could speak, he shot into the air, towards the Mideel area.
Soon, Kaede was barely a dot on the horizon.
Shit, said Cid, that guy can move.
Come on guys, said Cloud, if what I think is right, he may need all the help he can get.
What is it Cloud? asked Reeve, What do you feel?
Cloud shook his head and turned to Vincent.
I feel it too, answered the former Turk.
Lets hope were wrong, returned Cloud.
He soon summoned forth the other two Bahumets. Avalanche and the Turks got on the behemoths, and flew towards Mideel, wondering what they would find there.
Kaede flew at top speed towards the area of the disturbance. The other Bahumets would probably be a few minutes behind, but that much time could make a difference. Kaede had not wanted to alert the others, but he had sensed a powerful force. It was great, powerful enough to be a Horseman of the Apocalypse. But the other...
A powerful blast caught his attention, and Kaede landed. He crept up from the cover of the trees to view what was happening. A familiar figure, dressed in black fighting robes, was leading another black clad figure. By now, they could probably sense his powers as well, but perhaps not. However, if Kaede did not act soon, he would lose whatever surprise he had left. Kaede summoned forth his energies, and let loose a volley of energy at the two figures.
The blast exploded several yards away from the figures. Kaede walked through the rising mists to meet them. The two dark figures stood where they were, waiting for their attacker to appear. When the smoke finally cleared, there stood three figures, all dressed in black.
Kaede knew one of the figures from personal experience. The other he seemed to recognize from the records. The menace had a long, evil looking sword.
Is he the one? asked the tall, silver haired man.
Yes, said the red reptilian figure beside him, he is the traitor.
Well, said the first, this should be interesting.
Kaede merely braced himself for battle as the two grinning figures attacked. He blocked and parried their blows, his sword a speedy blur. They raged and fought around him, jumping about above and behind. Kaede merely jumped backwards, spinning his sword through the air. When he landed, Kaede blocked several passes behind him, then ducked under a swipe from in front, and performed a rising kick. The red reptilian was floored, but the silver haired menace continued to fight, disappearing and reappearing everywhere at once.
Youre pretty fast, said the dark figure.
So are you, grunted Kaede, matching him blow for blow.
That was when the other one came from behind, blowing Kaede away with a blast of energy.
The three Bahumets carried their passengers towards Mideel.
Remember, said Bahumet Zero, you are not to engage these beings until last resort.
I sense great powers, said Neo Bahumet.
So do I, said Cloud, Kaede will need us.
When they saw a great explosion from afar, the Bahumets sped up, jetting towards the source.
Looks like the partys started, said Yuffie breathlessly.
The three dragons landed not far from the battle field. They lowered their passengers to the ground, and could see that Kaede was fighting with two other dark figures. Kaede temporarily gained the upper hand after kicking away one of them. He held his own against the other, but was caught from behind by an energy blast from the fallen enemy. The other dark figure immediately went to thrust his sword at Kaede.
With lighting quick speed, Cloud broke away from the group, and deflected the attack. He helped Kaede to his feet as the two dark figures backed away. That was when he saw their attackers. Cloud did not recognize the reptile, but he immediately knew the silver haired menace...
Sephiroth, cursed Cloud.
Sometimes, I hate it when Im right. he thought.
Greetings puppet, sneered Sephiroth.
A cold chill went down the spine of the Avalanche members, remembering the man who had nearly destroyed the planet. All Cloud felt was firm resolution.
The three Bahumets were quick to recognize Sephiroths companion.
Morbius, spat Bahumet, the vile cur.
Morbius? exclaimed Aeris, you mean...
Yes, growled Bahumet Zero, Kaedes jailor.
I see you have heard of me, laughed Morbius, Its been a long time Kaede.
Not long enough, returned Kaede with a cold voice.
Now now, is that anyway to treat your old friend?
Kaede ignored the reptilian, and turned to Bahumet, Protect them, let us handle this.
Cloud turned to Morbius, what do you want with Sephiroth?
Morbius laughed, meet the new Horseman of Death. I have given him another lease on life.
Sephiroth grinned evilly, and I intend to use it to kill you all.
When hell freezes over, said Kaede, Bahumet, remember your task.
Bahumet nodded, while Elena summoned the Knights of the Round.
When King Arthur and his warriors appeared, their reactions mirrored that of the Bahumets.
Arthur, said Kaede, Cover them. Ready Cloud?
Ready as Ill ever be, said Cloud, brandishing his sword.
Come at us worms, taunted Morbius, you deal with forces you cannot possibly comprehend.
Ive been looking forward to kill you puppet. sneered Sephiroth.
Brave words coming from the coward Ive killed several times, returned Cloud, stay dead this time.
Insolent dog! raged Sephiroth, now you die!!!
Bring it on, said Kaede.
The four figures ran at each other, hacking and slashing at each other. They moved so fast, they were little more than a blur to the untrained eye. However, Avalanche and the Turks had trained well. They could see the battle, and wanted to join.
King Arthur could sense their unease, You are not ready yet, if you fought them now, you would only be playing into the enemies hands.
Okay, said Aeris reluctantly, but if they get in trouble, Im going in to help them.
Cloud dueled with Sephiroth, while Morbius fought with Kaede. The four swordsmen raged like demons. Morbius slashed at Kaedes head, but Kaede dodged the blow, leaping into the reptilian with his shoulder. The force of the attack lifted the menace off his feet, but he landed and returned with a spinning cross slash. Kaede jumped back to one hand and kicked Morbius in the face. The attack hit Morbius, but the reptile followed the motion of the attack, allowing his body to spin backwards, so when Kaede tried to follow up, the Planeswalker was knocked off his feet by the flying kick.
Morbius capitalized on his advantage, swiping his sword into the ground where Kaede lay. Kaede managed to roll away, then stood up and turned as he brought his sword crashing down. The reptile deflected the blow, and parried some more. He brought his sword up hard, and glared at Kaede through crossed swords.
Meanwhile, Cloud was having a handful with his arch rival. Cloud thrust countless blows to Sephiroths midsection and throat. However, the silver haired demon simply blocked the attack with his sword, slowly backing away in a spinning motion as Cloud attacked.
Sephiroth was setting up Cloud for a counterattack. When Cloud had finally committed himself to another thrust, Sephroth quickly drove his masamune into Clouds stomach. Clouds speed was all that saved him, for he managed to turn sideways and dodge the attack. However, the masamune cut through some skin and clothing, drawing blood.
Sephiroth sneered as he punched Cloud hard in the wounded midsection. Cloud flinched as the blow landed, throwing him back several feet, and knocking his sword away several more. Sephiroth rushed at Cloud, swiping from side to side with the masamune. Cloud gathered his wits enough to flip backwards, away from the attack. After several flips, Cloud surprised Sephiroth by jumping into the air and extending his leg. The roundhouse caught Sephiroth in the chin as both men fell to the ground. Cloud rolled away to his sword. He stood up, drawing the Ultima Weapon from the ground, ready to continue the battle.
Morbius stared at Kaede icily through crossed swords before bringing his hand up. His hand flashed with light, momentarily blinding Kaede. Morbius slashed his sword upward at the Planeswalker. Kaede, knowing he was in danger, jumped away, but was still grazed by the sword, which cut a diagonal rift through Kaedes chest. Kaede tumbled to the ground, but regained his vision as he rose to his feet. Morbius tried to continue the attack. The reptile ran towards Kaede, slashing downwards. The warrior merely slapped the blade aside, and punched Morbius hard in the stomach. The attack caused the reptile to gasp for breath, and he backed away. Kaede got to his feet, then brought his hand up, beckoning Morbius to continue. This drew another fierce look from the reptilian scourge.
There the four stood, glaring at each other, daring anyone to attack.
Jeez, said Yuffie, some guys get all the fun...
Bahumet nodded at Cloud, Impressive Master Cloud, you have improved much.
I see your skills have improved Kaede, spat Morbius, but you are still no match for us...enough games!
With that, Morbius summoned his energies. He pressed a button on his belt, and then tore a rift through the air. A blue portal opened up.
I would love to kill you Cloud, laughed Sephiroth, but we have more important matters to tend to.
Like hell, said Kaede, throwing a ball of energy at Morbius. The reptilian blocked the attack, but Cloud used the opportunity to cast a Quake spell, scattering the two dark figures. Smoke rose up into the air from the two attacks.
That was when Sephiroth came from out of the mists, thrusting his masamune towards Cloud, Kaede was there in an instant, and deflected the blow. Morbius came out from the smoke as well, swiping at Kaede, but this time, Cloud saved his friend. So, there stood Cloud and Kaede, back to back, locking swords with their enemies.
That was when a blast of energy came from the portal, hurling Kaede and Cloud through the air. They slowly got back up...but Kaede sensed something.
Look out! he cried, shoving Cloud away.
Two flying icicles shot towards them. Cloud was pushed to the side, but fell to his knees, clutching his leg where he had been struck by the ice.
Kaede had been speared through the ribs, and collapsed.
When the mists cleared, everyone could see a huge pair of evil eyes in the horizon, glaring at the two fallen warriors. The two dread circles rested against the dark, stormy skies.
What the hell is that? demanded Reno.
That, cursed Neo Bahumet, is Veletta, mistress of evil.
You mean the fourth Horsem- er, Horsewoman? asked Tifa.
The same, whispered Arthur.
Sephiroth brought out a green orb. Bolts of lighting sprang from the materia, striking at Cloud and Kaede, who could barely manage to stand up, much less avoid Sephiroths attack. Smoke billowed from their charred clothing as the two screamed in pain.
No! shouted Aeris, I cant watch while they get killed!
With that, Aeris jumped into the fray. The dragons tried to stop her, but she was too fast for them. The others began to run towards battle as well, but were held back by the Knights.
No my friends, said Arthur, he told us to protect you.
Before Bahumet and his brothers could do anything, Aeris stood near Cloud and Kaede. She began to summon her energies, and gave out a cry as she released her power. Gale force winds shot through the air, preventing the dragons or any of the others from moving.
Sephiroth and Morbius were caught off guard.
Accursed Cetra! spat Sephiroth.
What power is this? cried the reptilian Horseman.
The eyes in the sky glared in anger, and lightening shot out from the sky towards Aeris. She formed a barrier of protection around herself, Kaede, and Cloud. Aeriss eyes glowed with energy, as she drew her hands together. Bringing them above her head, the Cetra gathered the power into a ball. She then fired the orb at Sephiroth and Morbius.
The eyes of Veletta glowered in hatred, and the ball was intercepted by yet another bolt of lighting.
Morbius and Sephiroth walked up to the blue portal again.
Its been fun Cloud, laughed Sephiroth, but Ill kill you another day.
He jumped through the portal.
Impressive, but not enough. Enjoy your last days on this wretched planet mortals, sneered Morbius, while you can...
Then he too disappeared into the rift.
Kaede rose to his full height, struggling against the pain and bleeding in his side. He forced himself to ignore his aching lungs, glaring at the eyes of Veletta, which still tainted the murky skies.
Veletta, treacherous as always I see. Ill never let you have this planet witch... he said.
An evil laugh tore through the air, And what can you do to stop us? You and your friends are worthless!
Veletta, returned Kaede, you and your kind are empty, you are nothing but a void. I see you....your power is self consuming.
You dont really think youll win, do you? asked the voice.
Kaede smiled grimly, Youd be surprised what I could do. Lest you forget, there is a reason why I was chosen to be the Horsem-
YOU ARE NOTHING! screamed the voice.
Am I? laughed Kaede, but stopped as he coughed up blood.
LOOK AT YOU, spat Veleatta, YOUR CARING MAKES YOU WEAK! THE SLEEPERS HAVE AWAKENED...SURVIVE THAT IF YOU CAN...
With that, the portal disappeared in a flash of light. When the clouds and haze cleared, the eyes were gone as well.
Aeris let go of the power, returning to normal again, her eyes no longer glowing.
The three tried to catch their breath as the others came up to them.
Kaede looked at Aeris sternly, I told you not to enter the fight.
Im sorry Kaede I-
Thank you, smiled Kaede.
What? asked Aeris.
If not for you and Cloud, we might not have been so fortunate.
It was nothing, said Cloud.
No, said Kaede, you have improved much.
Cloud legs began to buckle as he struggled to stay on his feet. Tifa ran up to him, helping him stand.
Thanks Tiff. breathed Cloud.
Dont you ever do that again, said Tifa, if you die on me...
Dont worry, laughed Cloud, we cant have that can we?
Cloud kissed Tifa, assuring her of his vitality. He then turned to Kaede.
Kaede, how in the world did Sephiroth come back?
Kaedes face turned grim, Curse Jenovas blood, her essence must still flow strong through his veins. It kept him strong, if not completely alive, all this time. Morbius undoubtedly brought him back. And now, if Sephiroth is to become a Horseman, he will realize his true power.
True power? asked Tifa.
Kaede nodded, he will become a menace like you have never seen, as bad as the Horsemen, perhaps worse. What just happened here was a skirmish, the Drahk had no time to stay and fight.
So, said Cloud, you mean to tell me that wasnt their true power?
Kaede shook his head negatively.
Kaede...Jenovas blood flows through my veins as well... said Cloud.
No it doesnt. answered Kaede.
What...do you mean?
I read in the histories that you fell into Lifestream, did you not?
Yes, Tifa agreed, we did.
Somehow, Kaede continued, you were able to expunge the remnants of Jenovas being out of your body, a result of mako poisoning and your own resistance to the Jenova cells.
You mean, said Cloud, Jenova can no longer control me?
If what I believe is true Cloud, neither Jenova nor Sephiroth could control you after that incident. Did you ever stop to wonder why?
I thought it was because I had resolved my memories in Lifestream.
And in doing so, reasoned Kaede, you expunged yourself of Jenova cells.
Cloud shook his head, unable to believe he had been able to do such a thing.
You constantly sell yourselves short, said Kaede, as powerful as the Drahk are, you can be more powerful, given time. Especially you Aeris, your power was amazing, I have not seen its like for quite some time.
Yeah, that was some power Aeris, said Cloud, how did you summon it?
I dont know... said Aeris, I just willed it to happen, as if I needed to draw the power to save you.
I begin to see why you are so special, said Kaede, you have powers that few have ever possessed, as do you Cloud. Never have I seen such drastic improvement in so short a time. And Aeris, you seem to control the very elements themselves...
I just...I dont know. stammered Aeris.
Dont worry Aeris, said Kaede, Im just glad we can count on you. Now, to make sure we have no more surprises.
Aeris looked at Kaede, but he closed his eyes, deep in concentration.
Kaede? she asked.
Kaede merely muttered something in a strange language, then wrote strange symbols in the air with energized hands. Everyone could see the alien script glowing in the air like a beacon. When he was done, Kaede opened his eyes, and brought his hands together. A flash of light momentarily blinded everyone, but then it was gone, as well as the strange script.
What did you just do? asked Red.
I placed a seal on this planet. answered Kaede.
Yes Nanaki, at least for now, the Drahk wont be able to attack this planet through their portals. However, when they draw their main forces near, I am sure that the seal will not be strong enough to hold them back. Actually, Id be surprised if it did. The seal will probably break when they arrive, but it will give us a warning.
Well, said Elena, at least we wont have any surprises.
Actually, Im afraid we still have a problem. said Kaede.
Whats wrong? asked Reeve
Veletta said the Sleepers have awakened.
What does that mean? asked Vincent.
The Sleepers are powerful beings, answered Kaede, they are Drahk contacts on different planets. Before the Drahk attack, they send scouts ahead, in the guise of the existing inhabitants, to see what the planet is like and gather intelligence. In some cases, these scouts even silently recruit new followers. They lie hidden, a dormant menace waiting to be released, thus the name Sleepers.
So what can we do? asked Tifa.
Right now? asked Kaede, Nothing. All we can do is wait and prepare. In the meantime, I need Reeve to do me a favor.
What can I do? asked Reeve.
Use your contacts to gather planetary forces together. What resources do you have?
Actually, said Cid, thats a bit sketchy.
Cid and I have been working to rebuild planetary defense for the past few months, answered the Shinra president, We used some of the old Shinra technology. Wutai has provided additional knowledge on weaponry...
So what kinds of forces are we looking at? asked Kaede.
Were still getting on our feet, but we have plenty of ground troops and the beginnings of a planetary defense net.
What about protection from space-bound attacks?
Cid answered this time, Weve tried to place several mako/solar-powered cannons at strategic areas around the planet to protect against air threat. They could be used against attacking spaceships. Ive also been working on getting a decent sized air-force, but its been hard...some of the ships can almost make it to space, but costs have been restrictive.
Reeve continued, the battles with the WEAPONS wiped out most of our military powers in regards to the air-force and tank units. Our navy was virtually decimated. The strongest area is combat soldiers. Most of the remaining artillery went into the solar cannons Cid spoke of.
How powerful are these cannons?
They pack quite a punch, answered Reeve, but they wouldnt be powerful enough to take down Meteor, however. We put caps on energy output to prevent endangering the planet. But I never thought they would actually be needed.
The Planeswalker nodded and pondered for a while, his face set in a grimace.
What are you thinking? asked Vincent.
Will it be enough? posed Cid.
Maybe, maybe not, thought Kaede, but well have to make do with what we have.
I dont know what the Drahk forces may be planning, I can give some general ideas and hope its enough, said Kaede, I will assist you in some technical advances later on. But for now, we will have to gather what we can.
No problem, said Reeve.
Kaede turned to Bahumet, My friend, I believe we are overlooking something crucial.
What is it sire? asked Bahumet.
I have felt strange...sensations concerning this planet, especially whenever Aeris manifested her powers. I want you to search the planet.
Anything in particular? asked Bahumet.
I dont know, mused Kaede, the Drahk have something big planned for this place. I can feel it in my bones. Normally, they wouldnt waste the time of their precious Horsemen on any simple menial task. Perhaps it has something to do with the planets Lifestream?
We will do what we can Lord Silver. said Neo Bahumet.
Please, I told you, just Kaede.
Sorry, grinned the dragon, just habit.
We will tell you if we find anything. said Bahumet Zero.
The three Bahumets flew off into the sky. The Knights returned to the red orb from which they came.
Cloud noticed that the sun was setting, Well, he said, we had better get back.
I will summon the Kitana... said Kaede tersely.
Aeris looked at Kaede. She noticed something was wrong with the Planeswalker, but decided it could wait for later.
An hour later, the group was back in Costa del Sol. Reeve and the Turks had already gone to the Highwind, calling contacts around the world to gather the planetary forces. Shera and Cid went to help them. In her absence, Elmyra was only too happy to take care of the group. She fussed over them like her own children.
The Kitana had landed on the beach, and hovered just above the shore. Kaede was walking towards the villa, slowly and raggedly. Ever since they had boarded the Kitana, he had been completely silent, becoming reticent once again.
As Cloud and Tifa walked along the beach, watching the sunset, Aeris sat on the stone wall. She saw Kaede finally exit from the spacecraft, and suddenly remembered the night before. Aeris had resolved to talk to Kaede about it, when he collapsed a few feet from the wall.
Aeris, Cloud, and Tifa ran to him. They could see the was bleeding profusely. Cold, dark blood tainted the warm sand of the beach.
Whats wrong? asked Tifa, I thought we healed you and Cloud on the Kitana!
Kaede tried to rise to his feet, but fell to his knees. He coughed up blood.
Ah...Im...tired, said Kaede.
Cloud immediately knew the problem, he hasnt had time to properly rest since he got here.
Kaede tried to raise himself, but nearly collapsed again. Aeris grabbed him, slowly easing him back down.
Just try to relax, said Aeris.
Those were the last words Kaede heard before he fell unconscious.
Authors Note: Okay, dont tell me you didnt expect this. I brought Aeris back, why not Sephiroth? It was only a matter of time. Anyway, Im trying to get these fights to be as well rounded as I can. Theres tons more action left, so write me and Ill see what I can do. Thanks for reviewing, it encourages me to write more! Ive got big plans for our heroes and I hope youll like it.
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